TORONTO — The Red Sox’ postseason hopes are all but squashed at this point, but the inevitable might be coming even sooner than expected.
A lackluster month continued its downward spiral with another low note Wednesday night. A pitching performance led by a cast of September call-ups turned bad quickly, and the offense put on a dismal display as the Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays in an uninspiring 8-0 loss at Rogers Centre.
The Red Sox (76-70) knew they needed a strong September and some help to stay in the wild card race, but they’ve failed to even help themselves. They pulled within five games of the second wild card spot on Sept. 1 after a win against the Angels but have taken a deep dive. The Sox have lost five straight and 7-of-9 and were in danger of falling 10 games back of a playoff spot late Wednesday, with just 16 games remaining.
The Sox will try to avoid a series sweep — which would be their first to the lowly Blue Jays since 2015 — when they face Clay Buchholz on Thursday night.
Both teams on Wednesday used an opener, and though both of them threw two scoreless innings, the rest of the game went in opposite directions.
There was a parade of Red Sox relievers jogging out of the right field bullpen throughout the night, and most of them walked back to the dugout hanging their heads. Bobby Poyner delivered a perfect first two innings, but a combination of Trevor Kelley, Ryan Weber and Travis Lakins didn’t get the job done.
The knockout punch came in the fifth inning as Sox pitching yielded six runs. Lakins served up a two-run double to Randal Grichuk and a two-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez that were the daggers.
The Red Sox produced just one hit — a Rafael Devers single in the first inning — through the first eight innings before Brock Holt singled in the ninth. Christian Vazquez reached on an error before stealing second in the second, but that’s the only time they ever threatened. They were otherwise shut down by Blue Jays pitching, which at one point retired 16 Sox in a row.
The Red Sox’ streak of 159 consecutive games with an extra-base hit, which was the fourth-longest in modern MLB history, ended.
The Jays opened the scoring in the third when Devers couldn’t catch a difficult fly ball down the left-field line from Cavan Biggio, who was credited with a double on the play. He eventually scored on a sac fly from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. before Rowdy Tellez continued his damage against the Red Sox with a solo home run, his seventh homer against them this season.
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